New Delhi: UPA candidate Hamid Ansari was on Tuesday re-elected Vice President in a virtual repeat of the one-sided election that was witnessed in the Presidential poll when he defeated NDA's Jaswant Singh by a huge margin.

Ansari thus became only the second person to get a second term when he defeated  Singh by a margin of 252 votes. The 75-year-old a former career diplomat, who missed out in the recent Presidential race, got 490 votes against 238 secured by the BJP veteran, a former union minister who had held the portfolios of finance, defence and external affairs.

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Altogether 787 Members of Rajya Sabha and Lok Sabha were eligible to vote but 47 MPs did not cast their votes.  These included  ailing Union Minister Vilasrao Deshmukh and BJP MP Shatrughan Sinha, who recently underwent a heart surgery.Those who abstained included 21 BJD MPs, 11 of TDP and two of RSP.

In all, 736 votes were polled in the election that took place today.  Eight votes were invalid, according to TK Vishwanathan, Lok Sabha Secretary General and Returning Officer for Vice Presidential poll.

The election was on expected lines with the UPA cobbling its numbers comfortably on the lines it had managed during the Presidential poll including bagging the support of key constituent Trinamool Congress and outside allies SP and BSP.

On the other side, Jaswant Singh got the surprise backing of 14 MPs of  AIADMK.  Singh's personal equations with Jayalalitha seemed to have done the trick.

Ansari, second incumbent to be re-elected after S Radhakrishnan

Ansari is the second incumbent to be re-elected after philosopher-statesman S Radhakrishnan, who was the first to get two terms from 1952 to 1962. An affable and well-read person, Ansari was the second choice of Congress President Sonia Gandhi for the President's post and lost out to Pranab Mukherjee due to some brinkmanship by TMC leader Mamata Banerjee and SP leader Mulayam Singh Yadav.

A former Vice Chancellor of Aligarh Muslim University, Ansari's name came as a surprise in 2007 election when the Left parties, supporting the UPA-I from outside, proposed him and the Congress-led alliance accepted it.

Left parties support Ansari

The Left parties, which faced divisions on the Presidential poll, however, had no problems in supporting Ansari for a second time.

Parliamentary Affairs Minister Pawan Kumar Bansal said 21 members from BJD, 11 from TDP, 6 from Congress and supporting parties and two nominated members did not cast their votes.

Others who did not vote include 2 each from BJP, AGP, RSP and TRS and Y S Jaganmohan Reddy, one of the two members of YSR Congress. BJP's  Dilip Singh Judev, whose mother was not well, also did not vote.

Trinamool Congress members Kakoli Dastidar and Kabir Suman and SP member Brij Bhushan Singh are out of the country.

Out of the total 790 members of both Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha that form the electoral college for Vice Presidential poll, 3 are vacant with Pranab Mukherjee becoming President, Vijay Bahuguna Chief Minister of Uttarakhand and the election of BJP MP J Shanta having been set aside by a High Court.


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